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Techniques To Shooting A Basketball

Updated on December 22, 2017

Know The Basics

Here I will explain to you the basics of shooting the basketball. Firstly, you must know how to hold the ball correctly. Below are examples of how both a right/left-handed player should do this:

Right-Handed Shooter

The right-handed shooter should have his/her right hand on the top of the ball and left hand on the side of the ball. When shooting, the ball must be brought above or in front of the right side of your head. The shooting elbow must be directly under the ball.

Left-Handed Shooter

The left-handed shooter should have his/her left hand on the top of the ball and right hand on the side of the ball. When shooting, the ball must be brought above or in front of the left side of your head. The shooting elbow must be directly under the ball. Now you know how to hold the ball correctly, I will move on to explaining the two fundamentals of shooting the basketball.

Physical and Mental Aspects

Shooting, and basketball itself is made up of two parts - the physical aspect and mental aspect. You must learn to master both of these if you want to become the best shooter you can be.


Knowing when to shoot and being able to do this well when under pressure separates the good players from the great ones. Many players over the years have shown that you don't always have to be of a great physical shape/size to compete with players with a more gifted body than you - you just need the determination. Dennis Rodman was a great example of this: even though he was only 6'8" he led the NBA in rebounding for seven straight seasons. This was because of his determination to get the rebound while other players only tried half-heartedly. The same can be said for shooting - if you're determined your shot is going to go in, you are more likely to score than if you think that you're going to miss. Confidence and Concentration are the two main factors of the mental aspect:

Shoot The Ball With Confidence

  • Confidence - A shooter with confidence will be one, who shoots the ball each time "knowing" it will pass perfectly through the basket. However, this should not be confused with taking wild shots from half-court; he/she also has a great shot selection. When shooting, you must have a good mindset: no matter how your game is going, even if you've missed your first 10 shots you should still feel confident in shooting and continue to take good shots as at some point they will start to drop.
  • Concentration- This is how all the great players blank out the crowd and any other distractions and just focus on the game. Great shooters are able to blank out any distraction and still score the basketball. This mostly consists of being relaxed and not getting carried away in the drama of the game.


This is the use of the correct form, techniques etc to shoot the basketball consistently.

The Visual

There are two main places that are recommended for a player to look at when they shoot the ball: the front or back of the rim. I personally look at the front of the rim, but it's whatever suits you best. If you look at the front of the rim then you should focus on shooting the ball a slight bit further than you're target, and if you're looking at the back of the rim you should shoot the ball just short of you're target. The reason you don't look at the middle of the rim is because it is hard to focus on with the eye, as there is no solid object there to look at. Where as, with the front or back of the rim you have something to focus on. You should focus on the target from the point when you start your shot until it ends and drops through the net.

The Balance

When a shooter is properly balanced, they can channel all the possible muscle force in the direction of the basket. The main thing to remember is that when you are perfectly balanced you should be able to send the ball exactly where you want by controlling the acceleration of forces created by your own body. Then, all that is left for you to do is on the moment of release have a perfectlysmooth and continuous follow-through.If shooting on balance you need to rise in a steady upward motion without any jerking or irregular movements - it needs to be in continuous upwards motion and when it comes to extending your arm and following through, this too should be silky smooth.

The 3 Steps

You should follow these 3 steps when taking a set-shot:

1. Upward motion of the ball in the hands rising above the head.

2. A swift extension of the forearm,snapping the shoulder, elbow and wrist.

3. Rising to the balls of the feet and holding the shooting hand in the follow-through.

This is slightly different for a jump shot, as shown below.


The Jump Shot

This shot uses the same basics of the set-shot; it just requires the shot to be released by a sudden extension instead of a slow one in a set-shot. This means that the ball should be held above the head, ready to be shot, via extension and snapping of the wrist just before the peak of the jump. Remember the following 3 points when shooting a jump shot:

1. Release must come off the fingertips just before the peak of the jump.

2. All the momentum you carry upward should be channelled right to the fingertips at the release so you can make the perfecting adjustments.

3. Follow-through well.

How to use the jump shot

Once you have perfected the balanced jump shot, where you go up and come down again, you can start being more imaginative and try using the jump shot off of the dribble, receiving the ball etc. When taking off from a stationary position you should use both feet but when moving you should use the foot opposite your shooting hand. You should spread your fingers wide over the ball and raise the ball to a shooting position either slightly forward of directly above the shooting side of the head. Just before you get to the apex of your jump, release the ball by extending as you were shown earlier, and keep a great amount of concentration of the rim as it is needed while you are moving so much. Leave your arm and hand in the follow-throw position until the ball goes through the basket.


Submit a Comment

  • camdjohnston12 profile image


    7 years ago

    I love playing basketball. I really enjoy playing with basketball for women.

  • guy6336 profile image


    7 years ago

    I love the shooting tips. I have two great drills for coaches. If you coach, you should check them out. You may find the useful.

  • profile image

    eesti korvpall 

    8 years ago

    great tips , i really strugle with shooting

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    My coach always stresses the follow-through, because it prevents adding an undesired twist to the ball at the last second, instead of the backwards motion you want the ball to go in. I always find it hard to shoot when I have a girl in my face; for example, if I am just a yard from the key, within the 3pt line, but a girl my size (if not taller) is covering me.

  • profile image

    Jason Roatan 

    9 years ago

    Great tips, thanks!

  • adrienne2 profile imageAUTHOR

    Adrienne F Manson 

    9 years ago from Atlanta

    I find the focus and concentration to be two important elements when shooting a basketball. I find the visualization technique very effective for the free throw shot.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    I tried that for myself in a proper way, but sometimes not. I enjoyed practicing free throws and jump shots using the proper way, although its not yet perfect, but adjusting already.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    great tips for shooting a basketball

  • profile image

    buy absinthe 

    10 years ago

    great info thank you


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